“Is an MBA right for you?”

Today Haas welcomed over 100 guests (most of whom were prospective students) with the annual Women’s Workshop, hosted by admissions and Women in Leadership. This year’s theme was “My Journey toward an MBA.” The goal of the day’s sessions was to give participants an opportunity to learn more about the MBA and evaluate whether and/or when business school is right for them. Some attendees were locals, but many traveled in from across the country for the event. Having attended similar events before applying to business school, and having found them incredibly valuable in making my own decision to apply, I was eager to volunteer my time at this event.

Registration for the all-day event started at 8am (which, again, is like 5am in the student world!). I arrived on campus even earlier to help set up before our first attendees arrived. I don’t think I’ve seen Haas pre-sunrise in quite some time!

Good morning, Haas!

 I also managed to sneak a glimpse from the balcony of the Wells Fargo Room as we were setting up breakfast inside. I typically admire the Campanile (our clock tower) on a sunset backdrop, but sunrise might just be better!

Attendees arrived throughout the breakfast hour and after some coffee and mingling, headed over into the main auditorium for a welcome from Dean Lyons. As usual, Dean Lyons was engaging and personable as he shared about Haas’ four defining principles.

He acknowledged that many will read about Haas’ defining principles on the website and wonder if it’s just a heap of carefully crafted messaging with little substance behind it. I saw some in the audience nod. The dean then proceeded to share anecdotes that illustrated that the principles are present and thriving not only among students, but among faculty and staff as well. The defining principles aren’t hollow shells that we are seeking to fill. Instead, they are everyday life here at Haas, and it’s only in recent years that we have attempted to codify our culture and be explicit about who we are and what we value.

After the dean’s welcome, Professor Nora Silver, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, shared about her current research on multi-sector leadership (learn more here). She shared preliminary findings and engaged the audience in a discussion about the prevalence of multi-sector leadership and why we might be seeing this play out.

I had talked to several attendees over breakfast who were interested in the non-profit sector, so I was especially excited to have them hear Professor Silver speak. Checking in with the same attendees during lunch, many of them expressed that they felt incredibly lucky to have been able to hear from her and walked away feeling inspired, both personally and professionally. I wasn’t surprised. I first learned about Professor Silver’s infectious energy and her passion for the non-profit sector, when I took “Introduction to Nonprofit Management” with her years ago as an undergrad at Haas. Since then the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership has continued to grow and its success is a big part of why I came back to Haas.

Lunch was served out in the courtyard – it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside today – and we all enjoyed a little sun. Prospective students interested in the Full-Time, Evening/Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia programs sat with student volunteers in the respective programs and were able to ask questions about academics, student life, professional goals, the social scene and everything in between.

The rest of the day included sessions and panels with admissions, the Career Management Group, a keynote address and an alumnae and student panel. To close out the day, we had an afternoon reception with all kinds of snacks and plenty of drinks. Volunteers answered additional questions and did what they do best to show off Haas – they were themselves!

Overall, I thought the energy of speakers, attendees, current students (major shout out to the 2 dozen+ volunteers across all 3 Haas programs!) was fantastic today. It was a long day, but it was also energizing and definitely well worth it.

I often find that I enjoy talking about my experiences at Haas, especially on days like today, because it allows me (or pushes me) to reflect aloud on my experiences. What’s going well? What’s been fun? What do I wish I did differently? What’s next? There’s always so much happening each day that it’s easy to just let the days and weeks get away from me. So whether it’s talking about classes, a recent social gathering, my (awesome) study team, or an upcoming case competition, I love having the opportunity to reflect and be a student voice for Haas at the same time.

Spring Classes

Winter break is almost over. And while I really enjoy having some time off in Berkeley, I am also eagerly waiting for my classmates to return to start our last semester in style.

This might be the last time in quite a quite for me to go to school, so I took extra care in the fall to select my spring classes (while also trying to optimize my spring schedule to be able to enjoy long weekends in Tahoe).

The class that went for the most bid points this semester was “Power and Politics”. Fortunately I already took that class last spring, so I was able to get into all the Haas classes I wanted. So without further ado, here is my list of classes for the spring:

  • Risk Management via Optimization and Simulation
  • Global Management Skills
  • Marketing in Web 2.0
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Energy and Environmental Markets
  • Hal Varian‘s Technology Strategy

I am also waitlisted for Robert Reich’s “Poverty and Wealth” class at the Goldman School and considering going to PEIS 100 (Classical Theories of Political Economy).

I took mostly functional classes over the last semesters, so I felt that this semester I should take a few more industry focused classes.


In Memory of Bill Sonnenschein

Last Sunday, we lost one of the most inspiring professors in Haas – Bill Sonnenschein.

When we just arrived to Haas, we could sign up for two modules in the pre-school summer camp. One was math/finance/accounting introduction, and the second was Communication Workshop. We didn’t really know what exactly to expect from that second workshop, but I decided to take it anyway in what turned out to be one of the best experiences I could have before Haas.

Bill was the professor leading this workshop and he immediately captured us with his unique approach to communication, public speaking and people in general. The workshop was full of activities that allowed us to get to know each other better, while improving our ability to communicate regardless to our country of origin.

Bill was also our professor in the Leadership Communication course during fall A, and here too he managed to create a learning experience that was unlike any I’ve had before. He built a wonderful team of GSIs (Graduate Students Instructors), which were second-year students that practically led the class and I don’t think there is even a single person in class that didn’t become a better public speaker by the end of the semester.

Bill spent the last few months in Madagascar as a communication consultant for the government there. He was extremely excited about this opportunity and told us lots of great stories in class. unfortunately, after only few hours of intense gastric illness, Bill passed away last Sunday in the small village of Maronsetra on the East coast of Madagascar.

We will all miss him at Haas, his great sense of humor, his unconventional way of thinking, his ringtone (Hendrix’s solo in All Along the Watchtower) and most of all his genuine passion for people and for experiencing life to the maximum.

Update: A Haas community memorial blog has been created in Bill’s honor at http://haasforbill.blogspot.com/

—Elad Ganot

Striped Shirts

Professor Steve Tadelis in our Micro Econ core class is well known for two things: 1) his unconventional way of teaching economics is highly appreciated and praised by many first years at Haas; and 2) his wardrobe consists entirely of striped shirts.

In order to improve the quality of our learning environment today, someone in my cohort decided to organize a Wear Your Striped Shirts Day. It was quite a scene when I stepped into the classroom and felt that I was in the photo shoot of a Brooks Brother/Banana Republic commercial. It was also the the first time in my life when I just couldn’t stop smiling in an econ class.

Wait, you’re wondering why Steve always wear striped shirts? I guess you’ll just have to enroll in the Haas MBA Program to find out =)


—Eugene Lin

Spring is here

Well, not really: It is pretty cold in Berkeley, but after a long winter break (including a fantastic week in DC where I took part in the Washington Campus Business and Public Policy program) we are all back at Haas for the spring semester and I have a pretty busy schedule for the next few months.

In addition to the core classes in Spring A (Macro-Economics and Operations) I am taking Consumer Behavior (taught by Professor Andrade), Power and Politics (Professor Freeman) and International Business Development (IBD). I also signed up for an introductory Italian class which meets daily and a Private Equity Speakers’ Series, so it looks like academically this semester is going to be rather intense. So far, my spring classes have been great. We are still in the add/drop period, so some of my friends are still switching classes, but I am happy with my choices and the professors and looking forward to an interesting semester. To add to the excitement, I will soon find out which organization I will be working with for IBD – we have an early morning kickoff for that class this Sunday and will likely get our project assignments next week.

First-year students here at Haas is also getting ready for internship interviewing (and consulting and banking interviews are already underway). Thankfully, I already have my job for summer lined up already, but I am really proud of my fellow students when I see how they manage the extra workload from recruiting activities. While it looks like the US economy is heading for a r***, recruiting is still going strong, the career center is doing a great job coordinating activities and helping students get ready for their interviews, and the first students already got their offers for summer internships. .


Hidden Gem: Customer Development

I’m inspired by the Professor X article below….

Well after schedules were set and add/drop was over, I stumbled upon a gem of a class. It’s called Customer Development Process in High Tech with Steve Blank.

My Tuesday 4-6pm class happened to run over one day. Leaving the classroom, I bumped into a friend of mine as he arrived for the next class. Without prompting, he started gushing about how great his class was and insisted I sit in. When I looked around I saw several other friends in the class, all of whom enthusiastically endorsed the class. So I sat.


And way beyond Vista “Wow.” The class, Customer Development, is amazing. Steve is very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and interactive. He brings in speakers to share their experiences (meshing nicely with the material) and uses a great mix of casework and readings to highlight key concepts. He also brings extensive experience from his time in marketing, as a CEO, and membership on a few boards. Add to that his great sense of humor and it makes for a fantastic learning experience. This is one of the top classes I’ve taken, if not the best (there are a few great candidates for best class).

It’s awesome. This is one of those classes you really look forward to and can’t wait to pull in more information. I liked it so much I decided to audit. Had I known about this course ahead of time, I would have enrolled at day one and overloaded units. I didn’t even consider it once I saw High Tech. Don’t be fooled like me. Luckily, Steve was amenable to it and I thank him profusely.

And here’s the thing… I’m a military officer and don’t want to go into the High Tech world and it’s a night class (6-8pm)! But this class is so interesting, entertaining, and educational complete with lessons highly relevant to business life in general that I’d recommend this course to everyone. Seriously, it’s that good.

Some people take classes for the material, others take classes for the professor. This class is the best of both worlds.

I can’t imagine why this class didn’t max out in a major bidding war or why there was even an open seat for me. Somehow, I got lucky, and I’m thankful for it.

So if you come to Haas, put this on your must take list, and find a way to take it. You’ll thank me.

—Colin C.